Maybe your crew calls it "Eucharist," maybe "Lord's Supper." Whatever you call it, it's the meal Christ-loving types eat and drink to remember God's mighty acts played out in their fullest sense in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. Its also the meal which looks forward to a time of joining Jesus and the ancient and modern Christ followers in a feast together one day soon.
My understanding of the meal has evolved a great deal over the years. Early on in my Christ following career it was simply a time to remember. Our church had a table in the front with a pronounced "Do this in remembrance of me" etched in white letters. And so remember I did.
Later it became more of a connecting point with our global family as I traveled around the world a great deal in my late teens and twenties. It still frames some of my most memorable fellowship moments.
However, in the last decade or so its become two things more than others in my understanding:
It's clear that something drastic, maybe the word is 'magical,' is happening in the feast. Of the four gospel writers I imagine John as the "weird artsy kid" and also Jesus's best friend, He pens Jesus referencing himself as the 'bread of life' and if you eat of this bread you'll have eternal life. I've connected the dots to the Eucharist on that. Its part of ingesting the words and life of Jesus.
In the last few years this meal, which we take weekly in my church family, has also become a spiritual discipline. Discipline is that word that strikes fear in us because it requires commitment, cost, and focus--things which we tend to have in short supply these days with our smart phones and binge diets. However, we know the benefit can be rich as well.
In this regard, the meal has become all the more weighty and rewarding. Since we take wine and bread each Sunday as a family I gather around a table with people who make my heart burst with love. I also eat down the pew from those from whom I've received deep wounds or possibly given them. This can be painful. It requires the hard work of showing up sometimes when there are people you don't want to see or with whom you'd prefer to focus your eyes on picking all the lent off your clothes rather than making eye contact with them. You eat with the person who gossiped about you or broke your confidence. You eat with the woman who jabbed at your parenting style or bragged about her superhuman talent to juggle all of life's responsibilities when you're teetering near falling to pieces. Sometimes you are that guy or girl to someone else and others struggle to show up and eat with you.
The meal centers me on a Savior who ate with his traitor, encouraged a man who would deny him thrice, and cleaned the feet of men who would desert him in just a few short hours. Ugh, give me a break Jesus. Not fair to set that bar that high with your meals!
And yet, Jesus makes me put my focus on his way of pulling up to a table full of traitors and teaching about unity, service, humility, and love.
So today, I'm thankful for the supper that is the Lord's. It's a sacrament. It's a discipline. It's a blessing beyond words.